JOHN BARRY WOODS (WOODSY); born in Manchester, 10/02/1939.
The family emigrated to Australia in July 1954 as £10 Poms. John, the eldest of four children was 15 when they arrived in Adelaide. Arriving with his parents, two brothers and a sister they initially lived in tents at Enfield migrant Hostel, before being housed in Nissen Huts at Gepps Cross.
John found his first job, suprisingly, in a Hardware Store soon after arriving. Aged 16, he became a copy-boy at The Adelaide News, running copy on Saturday nights for a bloke named Rupert Murdoch, Later achieving a cadetship as a journalist. A few years after serving his cadetship, he went to Canberra, working at the Canberra Times for 10 months, returned to Adelaide, before being appointed Sports Editor of the Footscray Advertiser, in Melbourne in 1963. This was the beginning of his lifetime involvement in Community Newspapers, in effect his total integration into the communities he both lived in and worked in. In late 1964, Woodsy was appointed East Group Editor Cumberland Press of Victoria, and Editor of the Dandenong Journal, working from the Scott Street offices of the Journal in Dandenong. That is where he worked until he retired.
THE FAMILY: In 1965 John attended a 21st Birthday Party – gate-crashed it actually. That was Sue’s 21st Birthday. Sue had never met John before, but he was the last to leave! They married in 1966 lived at Noble Park for a few years, when Tim and Rowena were born, before moving to Mount Eliza in 1972. Tim, aged about 10, began to play cricket. John, present at one of the Saturday morning games at Mount Eliza, was asked “do you play?” The rest is history.
COMMUNITY: Woodsy gave his all to whatever group he worked with or supported. Well known as a Western Bulldogs supporter, he even signed up his grandchildren, Nate and Jake, as members on the day they were born. He was also a great supporter of the Dandenong (VFA) Redlegs and was devastated when they went broke and ceased to exist. He supported many fundraising efforts for groups and charities in the Dandenong area and it is recognised that he raised considerable funds over the years. As Editor of the Journal he often knew of matters that he had been told in confidence ahead of the information being released – he never breached that confidence. Manchester City Football Club was dear to him and they gave him some joy over recent years.
CRICKET CAREER: Woodsy played Schoolboy Cricket before emigrating to Australia. When in Adelaide he was invited to training with the SA Shield side but did not progress any further. After moving to Dandenong, he played 4 years in the DDCA at various levels. With Tim playing Juniors at Mount Eliza, Woodsy decided to join the Mounties in 1978 while the Club was still at Howard Parker. No one at the time could possibly have had any idea what a gem we had plucked from nowhere. Woodsy played Cricket at Mount Eliza for the following 40 years including 500 consecutive games of Cricket – cannot imagine that will ever be passed. He scored 4641 Runs, took 164 Wickets, and 187 Fielding dismissals. 2 Centuries, 7 x 50’s and a highest score of 122*. His Premierships of 1982/83 and 2009/10 always cherished by him, and certainly 1982/83 which Tim also played in as a 14 year old.
MOUNT ELIZA CRICKET CLUB: Over nearly 40 years as a member, Woodsy was to have an enormous influence on the Club in so many ways, certainly with his many fundraising efforts that kept the finances of the club in good standing. A few of these include Spot the Ball, Out First Ball, Betting and Non Betting Syndicates, Tattslotto and of course the Duck Pond. When the Wooralla Drive Clubrooms were built, he was always there helping painting, cleaning and all the associated jobs that had to be done. Once the Clubrooms were opened, then John took charge of the cleaning of the rooms for more than 15 years. In winter months, when the Club had no income, apart Thursday nights, then he operated the Canteen to cater for the Junior Football Club games. Over the Winter the Club was available for outside functions and of course Woodsy was there to assist with any booking made for Weddings, Birthdays or the like.
Woodsy was involved in many Social Events arranged over the years, and was always there, with one of the Journal Cameras, and endless rolls of black and white films which were developed by the Newspaper without delay. The Club has a great archive of photos from past years, but not a lot feature Woodsy himself as he was always taking them. He was regular contributor to the MECCA Newsletter.
Woodsy was a Junior Cricket Coach in the early 1980’s and then Captained many Senior sides over the years, always encouraging and trying to play Under 16’s and Under 14’s which he realised were the future of the Club. There are several current players who played their first Senior games in Woodsy’s sides. He was always happy to Umpire and was respected by opposition Clubs – that respect was shown on the day of his 500th game, when Tyabb CC agreed to transfer the game to the Sunday, and it was noted several players from other MPCA Clubs called in to congratulate him. He rarely had a disagreement with anyone or had a bad word, and was a friend to all.
In his first season, Woodsy won the Mitta Mitta Award as Social Recruit of the Year. He also was awarded the McCue Memorial Trophy, and on 9 occasions the Committee Cup – since renamed the John Woods Committee Cup. Life Membership was awarded in 1995.
WOODSY – A TREASURE OF MOUNT ELIZA CRICKET CLUB.
Our Condolences to Sue, Tim & Kathleen, Rowena, Nate and Jake.
THANK YOU Mitta Woods – RIP